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East Hall boys tested in 20-point win over Lumpkin County
Lady Vikings pushed by Lady Indians in 39-34 win
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Lumpkin County's Cal Thrailkill (1) guards East Hall's Luke Cooper (15) Tuesday at East Hall High School. - photo by Erin O. Smith

In a game that began with a lot of whistles, East Hall’s boys basketball team was pressed late in a 20-point, region victory over Lumpkin County, 77-57.

The Vikings (14-6, 7-2 7-AAA) got off to a fast start, hitting three consecutive 3-pointers. Luke Cooper hit two of the three and Luke Holtzclaw hit the third.

Cooper went on to hit another 3-pointer and finish the opening quarter with 15 points, helping East Hall get off to a 26-7 start.

The first period was a little heated from the Lumpkin County (16-5, 6-3) side with coach Jeff Steele and the fans getting on the refs early.

That resulted in two technical fouls for the Indians in the first five minutes of the contest.

Both teams were in the double bonus 2:30 into the second quarter.

“I told our assistants, this is like the ‘Twilight Zone’ or something,” East Hall coach Joe Dix said about the number of fouls called early. “It kind of reminded me of the beginning of the season the way they were calling the game. They called several fouls and we had to adjust to it.”

Lumpkin County outscored East Hall in the second quarter 19-17 behind 11 points from Jack Howard.

Markese Jackson scored 11 for the Vikings in the period to match Howard and keep the home team close.

With a 17-point lead at the half, Dix said he had to tell his team in the locker room to keep up the pace.

“We didn’t need to come out and have a slow start and let them get back into it,” Dix said. “We were able to get a good start and keep it around 17 or 20. It really helps when the ball goes through the basket.”

The Vikings didn’t come out slow at all, but they were held to their lowest point total of the contest.

The fourth quarter was no different as East Hall outscored Lumpkin County 19-17 for the 20-point final advantage.

After a combined 28 free throws were shot in the first half, only 13 were shot in the second.

Jackson sank all eight of his attempts from the foul line and finished with 19 points for the Vikings, who now move into second place in the region alone.

“(Jackson) doesn’t even start for us,” Dix said. “He just comes off the bench and gives us that kind of energy. He’s been a good player for us this year.”

Cooper also hit all of his attempts from the line (4), scoring 15 points in the contest. All of those came in the first quarter.

Dix said Cooper’s rhythm was thrown off after that first quarter because he picked up early fouls and had to be held out to avoid fouling out of the game.

Tylor Brown scored 13 points in the game, netting eight in the final period.

Brandon Zarate and Jack Howard both matched Jackson’s game-high 19 points for Lumpkin County.

Next, the Vikings will host Fannin County for another region matchup and senior night Friday. The boys will tip around 8:30 p.m.

EAST HALL GIRLS 39, LUMPKIN COUNTY 34: The Lady Vikings (17-4, 8-1 7-AAA) were tested throughout the game Tuesday night before ultimately being able to hold off the Lady Indians (6-16, 1-8).

After losing the first meeting on its home floor by 47, Lumpkin County’s defense stood its ground against the Lady Vikings, making them battle for every point.

This game was “way tighter,” East Hall coach Justin Wheeler said. “They played really well. They had a good game plan.

They played good on both sides of the ball.”

The Lady Indians held East Hall to five points in the third quarter, seemingly frustrating the Lady Vikings’ offense.

After hitting five 3-pointers in the first half, Kylah Mize added another 3-pointer in the fourth quarter and finished with a game-high 21.

“That’s kudos to her,” Wheeler said. “They were focused on Carly (Winters) big time, and almost challenged Kylah to beat them. She came through. She had a big game and came up big in the first half.”

Jenny Edwards added nine points for East Hall and had eight rebounds, nearly totaling a double-double.

“We thought she played really, really hard,” Wheeler said. “She rebounded well, she played defense, she handled the ball well and played really good defense. She played a really, really good game. Her points won’t point that out, but she really played well.”

Hope Foster scored 11 points for the Lady Indians, the only player in double figures for the visitors.

The Lady Vikings will celebrate Senior Night Friday as they host Fannin County. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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